tv CNN Newsroom With Brooke Baldwin CNN December 12, 2016 11:00am-12:01pm PST
inside the syrian military is they say they are in the final stage of the operation to clear all of the city, wolf. >> fred pleitgen out of aleppo now in beirut. thanks for that report. that's it for me. i'll see you at 5:00 p.m. eastern in "the situation room." the news continues right now, right here on cnn. here we go, top of the howard, i'm brooke baldwin. you're watching cnn. thank you for being with me. president-elect donald trump at odds with congress, including his own party leaders and the cia all at once. and a showdown is looming. i'm talking about the russians interfering with the 2016 presidential election. it was done, so says the cia, to help sway a trump victory. now, there are four senators. here you go. all making a bipartisan call for an investigation. the second one announced in less
than a week. house speaker paul ryan also just released this statement saying, in part, quote, any intervention by russia is especially problematic because under president putin, russia has been an aggressor that consistently undermines american interests. earlier senate majority leader mitch mcconnell expressed his confidence in the work of the cia while strongly condemning russia. >> belief that somehow republicans in the senate are reluctant to either review russian tactics or ignore them. the russians are not our friends. invaded crimea, senator mccain and i and some of our democratic friends met with delegation from the baltic countries just this past week to say they're nervous about the russians, is to put it mildly. >> now, contrast to that to what we've heard from the president-elect. mr. trump told fox news he doesn't believe russia tried to influence the election to help him. today took to twitter and
tweeted this. unless you catch, quote/unquote, hackers in the act, it is very hard to determine who was doing the hacking, why wasn't this brought up before the election? the answer is a resounding, yes, of course, we have been reporting about russian interference into the elections since june. let's begin with our go-to guy on capitol hill, manu raju. there is a major battle looming over this investigation. >> reporter: absolutely, brooke. this is going to overshadow a lot of things donald trump may want to do in the beginning parts of the new administration, the new congress. now, this investigation is probably going to take shape in both the house and the senate intelligence committees as well as the senate arms services committee, which is chaired by senator john mccain. one thing senator mitch mcconnell, the majority leader said today, he wants these investigations to happen in the existing standing committees on capitol hill, rejecting that call from democrats to create a separate bipartisan commission with subpoena power, similar to
what we saw after the 9/11 attacks and watergate style commission. nevertheless, there is going to be this investigation. republicans are being very careful not to say that russia got involved to sway the elections to donald trump. but one person, brooke, who is not being as judicious, i should say, is senator harry reid, the outgoing minority leader who believes that james comb y the fbi director, intentionally tried to sway this election to help donald trump and suppressed key information about russia's involvement. i had a chance to talk to him in his senate office a few moments ago. here's what he had to say. if trump had won this race, if russia did not get involved in the race? >> all i know is russia helped a lot. those wikileaks coming out, drip, drip, drip, hurt her. and comey helped trump significantly. a week before the election he came out with. oh, we found some more e-mails.
as a result of that, we lost senate seats, and i think we lost the presidency. >> reporter: so you think comey single-handedly swayed this election to clinton and kept republicans in control of the senate? >> i'm not saying single-handedly but for him -- well, i'll say single-handedly. had he not written that letter a week before the election, she would have won and we would have picked up almost two more senate seats. >> reporter: are you okay with the president taking that briefing once a week? >> well, it's very concerning to me. i know the people that brief the president. they spend 80 hours a week getting ready to brief the president. 80 hours a week. because that information is so sensitive. i don't get a briefing every day, but i get one every couple weeks that's very concerning. and i think it's unbelievable that he said, well, let pence do it. that should be done by the chief executive of our government. >> reporter: now, that last
reference was in reference to donald trump saying over the weekend that he only takes that presidential daily briefing of classified information once a week rather than every single day. obviously, reid very critical of that. in that same interview reid also said donald trump's choice of secretary of state, likely choice, rex tillerson, exxonmobil ceo, would have a very difficult time getting confirmed. even though harry reid won't be here any more, he knows how to read the senate very well. joe manchin, west virginia democrat, meeting with donald trump right now. reid told me he thinks manchin is running for that position. >> incredible, we'll pose it to some newsmakers. manu raju, thank you. while there is no question among intel agencies the russians hacked into the 2016 election, there is a question as to why it was done. the cia says it was all about helping donald trump. the fbi not going that far. let's bring in pamela brown. it's important to point out the
nuances and differences between what the cia is saying and the fbi is saying. >> you hit the nail on the head saying nuance. that's what we're dealing with here. when you have intelligence, it's not a perfect science, art, as one trying to describe the differences between the agencies. some intelligence agencies who believe russia not only meddled in the u.s. election but they're increasingly confident that they helped undermine hillary clinton's campaign to help trump win. that was shared with the cia in congress during a classified briefing on the hill after the election. as you point out, the fbi is simply not willing to go that far about russia's motives just yet. the fbi, from what we're told, gave a more conservative estimate to congress. there is a broad agreement that russia had some involvement in the election. intelligence agencies released a joint statement saying they were united in the belief that russia tried to sow chaos during the
election. officials tell cnn that new intelligence sheds more light on russia's intelligence, according to "the new york times" part of the cia's shift in assessment is based on the fact that russians hacked democratic and republican groups but chose only to publish documents from democrats online. we have learned, brooke, fbi investigators did find a breach of a third-party entity that held data belonging to the rnc but it appears it was outdated and of little value to the hackers. the fbi has not concluded the rnc was breached. the rnc has denied it's been hacked at all. >> that's right. there's a lot here to digest. pamela brown, thank you so much for that. let's delve a little deeper into this. have i two voices standing by, julie pace, chief white house correspondent for associated press and contributor on cnn's "inside politics" and dave williams, former cia special agent in charge and counterterrorism expert. so, welcome to both of you. and i think -- let's take three
steps back, if we can just for a second, julie, and first of all, the headline. the cia has concluded that russia intervened in the presidential election to help trump win. this is an explosive allegation. >> it really is. obviously, during the campaign we had reports from intelligence agencies that russia was interfering in the election, but to go this extra step and say they were doing that on behalf of donald trump, i think, is really troubling if you're someone who cares about the integrity of american elections. that's what you're hearing both from democrats and some republicans now, that this really isn't about the outcome of this election, it's not about challenging this outcome. it's about protecting our elections going forward. if russia was interfering on behalf of a specific candidate in 2016, what's to prevent them from doing that in the future if we don't get a handle on how this happened. >> let me pause and correct myself if i said cia. of course, dave, forgive me, fbi. i have cia on on the brain based
on what they have said. of course, you're former fbi. julie, back to you, because we learned maybe an hour ago that john podesta, hillary clinton's campaign chairman, today is now backing these electoral college electors who are saying, yes, we want these intel briefings on any kind of foreign intervention in the presidential elections ahead of the big vote december 19th. do you think he's hoping they will change their minds? >> i think that they want to create not doubt about the outcome of the election but some doubt as to who was to blame for hillary clinton's loss. you've seen a lot of people in the clinton campaign with their backs up against the wall, trying to point to comb y trying to point to other outside factors. again, i don't think you're seeing them challenge whether donald trump won the election or not, but they're certainly trying to point their fingers to other people besides hillary clinton and their own decisions. >> now, dave, to you. just the fact that mr. trump
does not believe the cia's conclusions from your intel fbi perspective, i want to first explain to us how important a working relationship is between the president of the united states and the intel community and how working in a more, you know, hostile environment woulding challenging? >> well, the relationship, i think, between the president and the intelligence community is a very important one. that relationship has been handled differently by different presidents. this president apparently chooses not -- this president-elect chooses not to be briefed every day on the presidential daily brief. others have also not done that exactly. some want -- absolutely delve into it every day. it's an important relationship. that is the feeder information to the president as to what's going on in the world. >> do you think he's right, though, to be skeptical, it was one of his transition team personnel who essentially said, these are the people, as in the
cia, you know, who said saddam hussein had weapons of mass destruction. what do you make of that? >> he's made the statement that saddam hussein -- the intelligence community errored, so to speak, that saddam hussein had weapons of mass destruction. let's not forget the entire western world at that time was of the opinion that saddam hussein had weapons of mass destruction. the primary reason for that was saddam hussein wanted iran to believe that. and he went to great lengths to have that done. so, the error on the part of the western intelligence services was widespread. >> julie, take it a step further. this is what i'm also wondering. if you have a president of the united states here, a president trump, who then doesn't entirely trust his intelligence officials and community, how then can americans trust mr. trump's decision-making if he doesn't trust the information he's getting? are you with me? >> right. absolutely. i think the consequences of what he's saying here could be pretty great. the one thing i would caution is
that a lot of things change, even from your transition to actually being in office. when you're the person who's having to make decisions based on the intelligence not just putting out statements and tweets about it. so that's one thing we should look for, how his position changes in office. but he may be able to change over the leadership of the intelligence agencies with some of his political appointments, but he's going to be getting information from a lot of the same career officials that have been there, providing the information about russian intelligence and other matters that he disagrees with. how he handles that and how he conveys, then, his decisions and what he's basing those decisions on to the american people, i think, is going to be critical going forward. >> back to the presidential daily briefings, he says -- we know mike pence is taking them, i would to say almost daily, but mr. trump says he doesn't feel the need to be briefed daily. here he was talking about it. >> these are very good people giving me the briefings. if something should change from
that point, immediately call me. i'm available on one minute's notice. i don't have to be told -- you know, i'm like a smart person. i don't have to be told the same thing in the same words every single day for the next eight years. could be eight years, but eight years. i don't need that. >> dave, he says he's a smart person. got a lot of smart people around him. do you think he's right or no? >> well, smart people like to be briefed by smart people as well. the united states intelligence community is made up of professionals. regardless of who might be the agency head at any given time, the core people who are putting out the intelligence briefings know what they're talking about. they're very good. and i'd also like to say, brooke, there really is no difference here between what the fbi is finding, shall we say, in the cia. >> you don't think so? >> there's a different culture as to where we go. the fbi primarily comes from a culture. we're looking for a very high standard. probable cause going into beyond
reebl doubt. that's a much higher standard. now, i recognize that in the world, you don't always get to that standard. you don't always get there. but you strive to get as high as you can. and that's where i think there's a little bit difference of how far we perceive we are in this thing. >> i got it. dave williams, thank you so. former fbi. julie pace, always a pleasure. thank you both. coming up next, president-elect trump's leading candidate for secretary of state, a big oil giant and buddy of vladimir putin's and now republicans are sounding the alarm. they are some of trump's fiercest supporters, so why are they being shut out of his administration? we'll discuss that. and just a chilling confession on video by the racist who carried out that massacre inside a charleston church. see why he laughed immediately following his arrest. you're watching cnn.
welcome back. this is cnn. i'm brooke baldwin. rex tillerson, one of the most recognizable faces in big oil. saying the ceo of exxonmobil is also donald trump's choice for secretary of state. mr. trump calling tillerson much more than a business executive. >> well, in his case, he's much more than a business executive. he's a world class player. he's in charge of, i guess, the large oes company in the world. he's in charge of an oil company that's pretty much double the size of his next nearest competitor. it's been a company that's been unbelievably managed. and, to me, a great advantage is he knows many of the players. and he knows them well.
he does massive deals in russia. he does massive deals for the company, not for himself, but for the company. >> and it would appear the kremlin echoes tillerson's business acumen. he has negotiated oil deals with russia for billions of dollars. he was ordered russia's order of friendship by vladimir putin himself. this is not sitting well with top republicans. here to discuss, clarissa ward and cnn political analyst jackie kucinich, also washington bureau chief for "the daily beast." clarissa, first to you in london. what do we know about tillerson's ties to russia and what message would that be sending if he's the guy trump selects? >> the most important thing we know about tillerson, other than the fact he has no diplomatic experience in the traditional sense, is that he actively spoke
out against u.s. sanctions against russia, which were levied against russia after it annexed crimea in 2014. so, that is significant. he has been outspoken and saying those sanctions were wrong and, of course, the question now is, would he try in some sense to repeal them? now, today we heard from the kremlin who had something to say about tillerson, which in and of itself is highly unusual. normally the kremlin would not comment on somebody, especially before this person had been officially announced. what the kremlin said was this, they praised tillerson and said he's very professional and then said, quote, as to whether or not he's friendly to russia, there's a huge difference between being a secretary of state and being a ceo of a big corporation. all sympathies must take a backseat. at the same time, the fact the kremlin wrote this statement and came out and voiced its opinion about tillerson is, i think, indicative of the fact that they are cautiously optimistic and,
indeed, enthusiastic about the possibility of tillerson as secretary of state, primarily because they want to see those sanctions repealed. they want to see european sanctions repealed as well. those hitting them even harder because they're bigger trade partners. but they need someone to make that happen and perhaps they're hopeful tillerson could be that person. >> statement from the kremlin, that speaks volume. jackie kucinich, you have all the backdrop and timing. cia saying russia interfered in the election to help trump. then you have, you know, tillerson's ties to russia causing concern among top republican senators, including marco rubio took to twitter saying, being a friend of vladimir, quote/unquote, is not an attribute i'm hoping for from secretary of state. with 48 democrats, we know he won't be confirmed. what do you think his chances are? >> reporter: that has to be one
of the things the emerging trump administration has to be looking at. there needs to be a serious charm offensive. whether that be enough, he he -- it remains to be seen. no matter what, he is going to have to answer for this in front of -- for his confirmation hearing. it's going to be a tough one. we've been discussing which of trump's cabinet picks will be having an easy ride and which won't. rex tillerson will not. it is because you have fox writing a recommendation later, essentially, when you talk to some russia hawks. this will continued to be an issue. i don't know if he can adequately answer why this would be acceptable. >> depending on the way the votes go ahead of time, of course, trump wouldn't want a loss like this, jackie, is there even just the teeniest of chances that mitt romney could still be in play? >> reporter: that is also -- only donald trump knows that. the thing about mitt romney,
while rex tillerson is -- believes in climate change, is free trade, mitt romney has staked out a very adversarial position to russia, which is not what donald trump is looking at, if he's looking at rex tillerson who is the opposite of mitt romney. this would be a 180 if he ended up going with romney over someone ho might have views much more like his own for secretary of state. >> let me play some sound, clarissa, and i want you to respond to this. we're about to hear from michael mcfall, who was "meet the press" over the weekend. >> one is revenge against secretary of clinton. let's remember vladimir putin thinks she intervened in his election, the parliamentary election in 2007 and has said as much publicly and i've heard him talk about it privately. >> revenge against secretary clinton. what do you make of that claim? >> well, listen, i think what
ambassador mcfaul is tapping into here is a really important issue. i saw this for myself on the ground when i was just in russia during the election. this election for russians was less about a love of donald trump than it was about a deep-seeded animosity for hillary clinton. now, where does that animosity come from? well, in part, it may be the 2011 election that you heard ambassador mcfaul reference there, but there are a host of other issues as well. i'm thinking specifically of the intervention into libya, which the russians essentially felt they were hoodwinked into participating in. for russians the idea of regime change in any shape or form is an anapama and they associate hillary clinton with that hawkish, centrist, pro-regime change, spreading democracy through whatever means necessary sob sorted sort of attitude or stance. i wouldn't disagree -- who can
say in terms of the tampering with this election and whether that was to punish hillary clinton or not, that would be speculation. certainly it's no secret that president putin is no fan of hillary clinton's. >> we wait to see if tillerson is the official pick. thank you both so much. coming up next, what investigators found inside the car of that charleston church shooter. among the objects, a chilling handwritten note, also the suspect's eerie confession where he's seen laughing in front of investigators. we'll take you live to charleston next. i was diagnosed with endometrial cancer.
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week two now of the federal hate crime trial for the charleston church shooter is under way. the 22-year-old is charged in the brutal slayings of nine parishioners at south carolina's historic mother emanuel ame church. last week testimony ended with prosecutors showing the defendant's chilling video confession. the self-proclaimed white supremacist described in shocking matter of fact terms. he laughed at one point when asked questions about this cold-blooded massacre. >> i went to that church in charleston and -- and i did it. >> did what? >> well, i had to do it because
somebody had to do something. because, you know, black people are killing black people every day. >> so, did you shoot them? >> yes. >> would you consider yourself a white supremacist? >> i do consider myself a white supremacist, sure. white people are superior. >> so your deal is it like -- >> to agitate race conditions. >> to make it worse? >> right. >> would you be able to tell them that you shot them the reason you told us? >> knock way. i can't say that to them. can't even look at them. >> do you wish there would have been more people there? >> no, like i said, saying afterwards, it was just like, oh, you know. that's why i didn't shoot that other lady. i could have but i didn't. >> do you remember telling that lady, i'm going to let you live so you can tell my story?
>> yeah, i said that but there really is no story. >> do you have any remorse? i think it's too soon. >> what about regrets? >> yeah, i'd say so. >> what do you regret? >> oh, that's -- you know, regret doing it a little bit. >> a little bit? >> yeah. >> but part of you is glad you did still, right? i sense that from you. so, you're proud? i mean, part -- >> no. like i said, i don't really know exactly what i've done. >> i don't really know exactly what i've done. today's testimony focused on the evidence investigators took from his car. a glock, a lot of ammunition and racist paraphernalia, and apparently a notepad for several local churches, including that very church, mother emanuel church in charleston. joining me now legal analyst
paul callan. can we go back to the tape. to hear his voice, hear his laughter, didn't sound like he had any remorse at all. how does that sit with a jury? >> it's absolutely chilling to watch this interrogation -- >> it is, it is. >> -- go on because we're talking about the taking of human lives, many human lives in what was apparently a very deliberate, well-planned way without a scintilla of remorse. what it's all shaping up, as far as i can see, is that he has no chance of avoiding the death penalty if this case continues to go in this way. >> really? >> yes. you know, essentially when you're trying to convince a jury not to put somebody to death, you're trying to show that they are so insane that they're unable to plan, they're unable to manipulate, they're unable to deliberate about the crime. all of these things he was able to do. so, i don't think he's going to fit the pattern of a truly
insane person committing a homicide. >> what about the fact we learned today that in his car there was a list of churches in the area. what would that tell you about intent? >> i think what it tells you is that he's capable of sophisticated planning. and someone who's capable of sophisticated planning is not insane under the law. nor is that a mitigating circumstance that would give you a reason not to give the death penalty. >> what about this gun, this is what was described today, the extra ammunition, hollow-point bullets, how he waited until he turned 21 to buy the gun. he apparently used. the gun shop manager testified he did not get a notice from the feds ordering him not to sell the gun until days after the fact. >> well, that's an astonishing fact as well. that's a whole other conversation about gun control in the united states and about these databases we have in place that we're not using effectively to stop people like dylann roof from getting his hands on weapons that can kill so many
innocent people. >> cannot imagine those family members sitting in that courtroom and listening to all of this all over again. >> many saying they don't want him to get the death penalty. >> yes. >> doesn't that show what great hearts these people have, that they could take that position? >> would love to talk to some of them when this is all finished as we already went to charleston and had the pleasure of speaking with them. paul, thank you very much. coming up, former congressman joe walsh is joining me. he is fired up over allegations that russia interfered with the u.s. election. what he wants president-elect trump to do about it. plus, are some trump loyalists getting left out in the cold during this cabinet pick process? rudy giuliani, newt gingrich and now we're learning more about the job chris christie wanted and didn't get. oh, that's lovely...
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congress and president-elect trump over russia's alleged interference over the elections. the cia says, yep, the russians wanted to help trump win. trump says, that is ridiculous. he says he doesn't buy it. one of trump's supporter, former republican congressman joe walsh is not so happy with trump. he joins me from chicago. congressman, a pleasure. welcome. >> hey, brooke, good to be with you. >> i spent a bit of time reading your tweets. you, sir, are angry. tell me why. >> you know, i went on my tweet storm this weekend, brooke, because i'm outraged at the lack of outrage, especially on my side. the republican side. i get that the country's divided. my god, a foreign government interfered with our election. that should piss everybody off.
that should especially anger my side. and it's like, brooke, because our guy won, trump won, we're going to keep our mouths shut? i mean, that's just so wrong. the tepid response from republicans. >> just so i'm clear, the believe the cia assessment that, yes, indeed, russia's intent was to meddle and get trump to win? >> there's no debate. it happened. not to parrot hillary, 17 agencies said they interfered. this washington post report this weekend made clear, it's a fact. and then for donald trump -- mean, everybody -- look, all republicans and democrats in d.c. know they interfered with this election. for donald trump to call it ridiculous and not believe it, he ought to be ashamed of himself. >> so, i know that you agree -- i saw one of your tweets you retweeted the former cia acting director mike morrell who essentially compared this to
being the political 9/11, but at the same time, you're a trump supporter. this is the guy you voted for. this is the guy you supported. he is reluctant to even investigate. why do you think that is? >> because i think he's acting like a third grader, brooke. i think he believes -- >> a third grader? >> maybe a fourth grader. i don't know. my kids are older. >> this is the man you voted to be the president. >> yes. but i think -- i don't think he fully gets it, brooke. this is -- i mean, my god. we're americans. this is a foreign government got involved in our election. i mean, i agree with michael morrell. that's like russia attacked us. for donald trump to come out and attack our men and women in the cia, i -- that's almost treasonist. russia attacks us and trump tax the cia. man, he ought to -- he ought to be the one, brooke, calling for
an investigation like right now. >> well, he's not, so far. on top of all of this, what he is calling for is a potential pick for secretary of state. this is apparently a man who was one of putin's best american buddies, rex tillerson. congressman, does this concern you? >> no, you know, again, i separate the issues. i don't have a problem with getting friendly with russia. i don't have a problem with -- if tillerson is friendly with putin. that's a policy disagreement. i have a problem with any foreign government trying to pick our president. that's a totally separate issue. if donald trump is watching right now, he blocked me on twitter, brooke, so he doesn't follow me any more. man, he's going to use this as an opportunity, i think, to bring the country together and lead an investigation. >> you got blocked by trump on twitter. did that hurt your feelings, congressman? >> hey, brooke, it did. if donald trump blocked you, it would hurt your feelings. it bummed me out --
>> i follow him. >> -- for a few days and i don't know why. >> let me move on. in all seriousness, there was news from john podesta, hillary clinton's campaign chair, and he says yes, he's backing these electoral college electors. what do you think podesta is trying to achieve? do you think he's hoping to change the minds of the electors? >> well, again, i think when this story broke everybody went to their partisan corners. the far left said, redo, redo, and the far right hid under their desk and ignored it. i believe a foreign government influenced our election. i believe that needs to be investigated. i believe that electors should have every piece of information they can possibly have before the 19th. >> outgoing senate minority lead harry reid just talked to my
colleague, manu raju, and he basically blaming fbi director james comey for being partisan. i want to play you a part of that interview. >> they looked into nothing. >> reporter: why do you think that is? >> well, it's obvious he was a part in all this. >> reporter: comey? >> comb y yes. it's obvious. there's information out there. he had it, i'm confident, and he ignored it. and we know from other reports we've seen from all you guys, there were reports in the people -- in the campaign for donald trump were in touch with the russians. now it's very clear. one of the biggest mysteries that people think exists, why didn't he do something? it's no mystery to me. >> senator reid said he raised the red flag. again, he's saying jim comey ignored, ignored. what do you say to that? >> i say that, brooke, you're killing me with my conservative base. i'm going to agree with harry
reid. look, comey mishandled the whole hillary clinton thing from the beginning. i think the fact that nobody -- brooke, you and i knew during the campaign that russia was involved. the fact that it wasn't looked into or that the fbi didn't really aggressively go after -- >> what about president obama -- congressman walsh, what about president obama, you know, because we know he's called for this massive review, even going back to the '08 presidential election. and i realize from his perspective, you know, you can say, listen, he didn't want to look involved and play politics ahead of this elections, but do you think he should have been more public about concern, from the administration? >> yes. if he knew that russia was interfering or meddling or hacking in our election, that is information that the voters should have had. and the republicans, when they met in september or october, brooke, the republicans should have agreed to that as well.
>> congressman joe walsh, we went through a lot here. thank you so much. >> love you, brooke. thank you. >> thank you. coming up after tapping a climate change denier to run the e.p.a., donald trump is asked to clarify his view on the environment. another staffing position yet to be filled in the trump white house. press secretary. hear who says she just turned down the job offer. the real gift isn't what's inside the box... it's what's inside the person who opens it. give ancestrydna, the simple dna test that can reveal their ethnic origins. order now at ancestrydna.com and save 10%.
president-elect trump now says he is, quote/unquote, open-minded when it comes to climate change. he did not outright deny that it's real, but he hasn't exactly accepted the idea either. here's what he told fox news. >> i'm still open-minded. nobody really knows. look, i'm somebody that gets it. and nobody really knows. it's not something that's so hard and fast. i do know this. other countries are eating our lunch. >> this despite the over whelming scientific evidence to suggest climate change is real and humans contribute to it. so, with me now, cnn political xhen that's erbil press and alice stewart, cnn political commentator, republican strategist and former
communications director for ted cruz. alice, first to you, can we just all agree, i mean, climate change is a real thing? you don't have to agree on how you fight it, but you have to acknowledge it's real. my question is, what is taking republicans so long to come around? >> i think what we have is we have someone like donald trump who says he's coming around to it. there may be some truth to it. on the far other side of the spectrum we have barack obama who has said there's no greater threat to our future than climate change. i think the truth is somewhere in the middle. as you say, the question is, how do we go about fighting it? i think with his new appointment to the epa with regard to protecting our environment and climate change and global warming, the number one mission is for clean air and water for all americans, regardless of race or income or where you live. that's the number one goal. our question is, how do you go about doing it while remaining competitive with other nations. >> i know a lot of environmentalists would not agree with you. mr. press, what do you think?
>> this is the most serious issue facing the planet and should not be a partisan issue. the pentagon has -- it's not only just the massive environment -- economic disruption it would cause for this country but the pentagon has identified climate change as a national security issue. we should not be debating. i think it's appalling that president-elect trump has appointed a climate denier to head the epa, climate determine to head the labor department. he's considering another climate denier, rex tillerson, to be secretary of state. and i'm afraid that all the progress that we have made over the last eight years toward taking climate change seriously could be easily undone by this administration. >> let me move on. alice, to you. donald trump is big on loyalty and still, though, you see the likes of rudy giuliani and newt gingrich and -- who am i missing?
chris christie. >> chris christie, yeah. >> they're, so far, not selected for part of his cabinet. i'm wondering, why? >> what we've seen with each one of them, they have decided themselves to take themselves out of running. they have been vetted. we heard from reince priebus with regard to rudy giuliani, he had been vetted. he passed with flying colors for a position. he decided himself to take himself out of the running. so, i think, look, it's one thing to want to get in and help on what was a tremendous and historic campaign. all of these men have a lot to be proud of for everything they did to help get donald trump elected. but moving forward, there are such a wide variety of people that could be filling these different cabinet positions and heads of various administrations and he's widening the net. that doesn't mean them not specifically being in a cabinet or in the white house, they can't help tremendously from the outside. i think that's what we'll see. >> why do you think, though, chris christie turned down the job, the homeland security job?
>> it remains to be seen. clearly, there was speculation about the bridgegate scandal and how that might impact, you know, whether confirmation or moving forward or conflicts. that might possibly be it. you know, some of these things we'll never know. and there's also the -- he's been talked about for doing something with the rnc. i think he would be tremendous for that and a great fund-raiser. there are a lot of things they can do to help. >> i can feel the bill press eye roll from here. >> may i suggest, anybody who believes these three guys were offered jobs and turned them down believes in the easter bunny. i don't believe that at all. i've been around too long. you have too, alice. come on. it's clear, can you talk about each individually. i think it's clear overall why they didn't get it. number one, they didn't work for goldman sachs. number two, they were not generals. number three, they were not gazillionare is. and they didn't give enough
money to donald trump. $11 million is how much he's gotten from people named to the cabinet. they were big friends but not big enough donors, alice, and you know it. >> i think it came down to the loyalty and the blood, sweat and tears they gave on the campaign trail is invaluable and donald trump will forever be grateful. there are other things they can -- >> i'm still stuck on the easter bunny. totally kidding. before we go, joe manchin, west virginia senator, used to be governor, democrat, he's at trump tower today, as per tradition, he could be picking a democrat as part of the cabinet. bill press, would you see him as a traitor if he said yes, a traitor to your party? >> no, i wouldn't. joe manchin is a good man. i know heidi heitkamp, another senator is being considered for secretary of cabinet. each member has an opposing member on his or her cabinet. i would accept that as doing a service to the country. i just hope he doesn't take the job. joe, stay where you are!
>> bill and alice, thank you. coming up, it's being called a clear message from president-elect trump, where china, for the first time, just flew nuclear-capable bombers. why that is causing concern. back in a moment. see me. see me. don't stare at me. see me. see me. see me to know that psoriasis is just something that i have. i'm not contagious. see me to know that... ...i won't stop until i find what works. discover cosentyx, a different kind of medicine for moderate to severe plaque psoriasis. proven to help the majority of people find clear or almost clear skin. 8 out of 10 people saw 75% skin clearance at 3 months. while the majority saw 90% clearance. do not use if you are allergic to cosentyx. before starting, you should be tested for tuberculosis.
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at the marine mammal center, the environment is everything. we want to do our very best for each and every animal, and we want to operate a sustainable facility. and pg&e has been a partner helping us to achieve that. we've helped the marine mammal center go solar, install electric vehicle charging stations, and become more energy efficient. pg&e has allowed us to be the most sustainable organization we can be. any time you help a customer, it's a really good feeling. it's especially so when it's a customer that's doing such good and important work for the environment. together, we're building a better california. here we go. we continue on. i'm brooke baldwin. you're watching cnn. thank you for being here.
let's begin with the showdown in washington where president-elect trump is not only at odds with congress, including members of his own party, but also the cia. what is this about? this is all involving russia interfering with the 2016 presidential election. the cia says that russia did it with the intent for trump to win. now, let me show you these four senators, two dechlt ms, two republicans, making a bipartisan call for an investigation. the second one announced in less than a week. earlier today we heard from senate majority leader mitch mcconnell strongly condemned russia while praising the cia. >> our belief that somehow republicans in the senate are reluctant to either review russian tactics or ignore them, the russians are not our friends. invaded crimea. senator mccain and i and some of our democratic friends met with the delegation from the baltic countries just this past week.
to say they're nervous about the russians, is to put it mildly. >> let's compare that to president-elect trump. he told fox news he doesn't believe russia tried to influence the election to help him win. >> would trump have won this race if russia did not get involved? >> all i know is russia helped a lot. those wikileaks coming out, drip, drip, drip, hurt her. and comey helped trump significantly. a week before the election he came out with this. oh, we found some more e-mails. as a result of that, we lost senate seats. and i think we lost the presidency. >> so, you think comey single-handedly swayed this election to clinton and kept republicans in the senate? >> i'm not saying single-handedly but -- well, i'll say single-handedly. had he not written that letter a week or so before the